Local hip-hop acts pick their favorite Tribe tracks and muse on the influence of Q-Tip

This Saturday, some of the hottest local talent will be getting busy on fifteen stages throughout the Golden Triangle for the annual Westword Music Showcase. After the Showcase wraps, Q-Tip, hip-hop's premier rapping, producing and trendsetting superstar will rock a rare DJ set at City Hall Amphitheatre for the official Showcase after-party. In advance of what is sure to be an absolutely dope party, we caught up with some of the hip-hop cats who are nominated this year to get a few words on their favorite Tribe song and their thoughts on the renaissance man himself.

Big J. Beats (1984): So that's a pretty serious question, seeing as I have attributed much of the reason why I love hip-hop so much to A Tribe Called Quest. I basically took the weekend to really think about it, and after much deliberation, I've narrowed it down, and I think is my all-time favorite Q-Tip solo track would have to be "We Fight/Love," featuring Raphael Saadiq, off of the The Renaissance album. That whole album is incredible, and not to ever discredit work prior, I just found a deeper connection with the project as a whole. But that track in particular always moved me in ways that nothing ever had by him or Tribe. Trust me when I say that was no easy decision, but I have to give respect where respect is due.

Check-one (BigWheel Electrosoul): My favorite Tribe song is "We've Got (Jazz)." "Stern firm and young with a laid-back tongue/The aim is to succeed and achieve at 21/Just like Ringling Brothers, I'll daze and astound/ Captivate the mass, cause the prose is profound." That song is very well seasoned and perfect.

Diamond Boiz (Zome): A Tribe Called Quest, "Motivators." The memories: This song puts me back in my '92 Nissan Sentra on seventeens, ridin' Federal.

Diamond Boiz (Dyalekt): A Tribe Called Quest, "1nce Again." I love the way it takes me back to my childhood, considering the song came out when I was nine years old. Who doesn't wanna be nine again? I consider myself blessed to be able to have fallen in love with the song sixteen years ago. I have grown with it, finding deeper understanding of the song musically and lyrically as I've gotten older. RIP, J Dilla.

J.Carey: You hit me with a tough question! I grew up listening to A Tribe Called Quest -- then again, so did countless others, right? -- so I have a few favorites. If I absolutely had to choose, I'd go with "Scenario," off The Low End Theory album. There was so much energy throughout, not to mention it was the record that introduced me to Busta Rhymes. Lots of history! I'd also like to add that "Find a Way" is a close second on my Tribe favorites list. The production, the lyrics -- even the crazy video -- all compelled me to play that song on repeat for most of 1998 and 1999.

Julox: This is a great question, but a tough one at the same time. If I had to pick a favorite song, it would be "Bonita Applebum." The reason is because I can remember when I was a li'l boy, I would wait and wait to see that video. Plus, that song is jammin'! Simple as that.

Koo Qua: Q-Tip's "Vivrant Thang." At the time the song was out, a lot of legendary artists were venturing out and trying new things with their music. This was one of the songs where I felt Q-Tip was "getting out of norm."

Kalyn Heffernan: I don't think there's any bad Q-Tip verse. However, to keep from repeats and stray from the classics, "Money Maker" is my choice. Q-Tip just goes in hard, the beat is perfect, and it's a great example of how he can stay funky any time, any topic, any track.

Mane Rok: A Tribe Called muthafucking Quest: Pivotal, life-changing -- well, at least for this thirteen-year-old blue-haired skater kid in the '90s. I own every Tribe album ever released. Just last week, my seventeen-year-old nephew was asking for copies of each.That tells you the power they hold, the place they hold. That leads me to this: There is not just one song. Each album is part of the soundtrack of my life, so attempting to find a favorite out of a bevy of choices -- well, that, dear ladies, is near impossible, whether it's "Bonita," from Peoples, "Scenario," from Low End, "Electric Relaxation," from Midnight... As you can see, I can go on. I can only say this: The influence that these hippy-ass-hip-hoppers had on my life is tremendous...and I'm not the only one. God bless them all -- and, naw, I don't believe in God -- especially Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed. We on award tour.

To get the hook-up on discounted tickets for Showcase, head over to our TicketFly page and enter the promo code "RuBlack" (without the quotes).

Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ru Johnson
Contact: Ru Johnson